football Edit

OSU Fall to Michigan in Title Bout at the Joe

In a rematch of the 2004 Central Collegiate Hockey Association's Super Six Championship, Ohio State and Michigan squared off in the title game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The Buckeyes couldn't replicate the results from last year, when they beat Michigan to claim their first league title since 1972 - the CCHA's first season - but are nonetheless making plans for a third-concecutive NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes overcame a sluggish start, but were unable to repeat at CCHA playoff champions, falling 4-2 before an announced crowd of 16,891 in a tight contest marked by two fluke goals, one for each team, and a would-be goal negated by an early whistle.
Despite the loss, the Buckeyes are all but penciled in for field of 16 teams that will participate the NCAA tournament. The tournament concludes in Columbus April 7-9 with the Frozen Four at Value City Arena, OSU's home venue. The selections are Sunday morning.
"I thought our kids came with a heck of an effort," Ohio State coach John Markell said. "There's obviously some disappointment in our dressing room, but I think they displayed the character today that they displayed throughout the season, and now we move on."
Michigan scored on its first power play of the evening when Milan Gajic buried a one-timer from the left circle at 2:58, beating OSU goalie Dave Caruso high stick-side. The Wolverines worked the puck around the perimeter until Matt Hunwick set up Gajic from the blue line.
Michigan converted 2 of 10 power plays.
The Buckeyes were unable to muster a shot on the first man-advantage as Michigan turned back all penetration. The initial OSU power play was telling, as the Buckeyes' vaunted power play was shut out on all seven chances.
It appeared Ohio State scored on its second power play to tie the game when Kenny Bernard came sliding in to knock in the puck after it slipped behind Montoya. The referee was quick with the whistle though, negating the would-be goal.
"That was a legitimate goal," Markell said.
The Buckeyes carried over their strong finish of the first period after the intermission and tied the game with a goal by Tom Fritsche at 5:32. Domenic Maiani created the opportunity for Fritsche, taking the puck through the neutral zone and eluding Jason Dest to get a shot off from the right circle. Fritsche came streaking down the opposite sied and had an easy put-back after Montoya blocked Maiani's shot.
It looked as though Michigan might have squashed the Buckeyes' momentum when Milan put back a rebound of Brandon Kaleniecki's shot for the Wolverines' second power-play goal, but a fortunate bounce pulled OSU even again.
JB Bittner attempted to move the puck across the ice through the crease from the right corner, but the puck ricocheted off the heel of Michigan defender Eric Werner's skate and past an unsuspecting Montoya to make the score 2-all at 6:57 in the second. Werner's skate was in the crease as he set up in front of Montoya, facing outward.
It had been an eventful middle period, and the energy spilled over to intermission. The teams had to be separated in front of the benches. Each team had three players penalized for the ruckus.
OSU's Bryce Anderson was charged with a 10-minute misconduct and two minues for unsportsmanlike conduct. Montoya also received two minutes for unsportmanlike conduct. Waddell and Michigan's Chad Kolarik were both assessed penalties for slashing and hitting after the whistle. The Wolverines' Jeff Tambellini and Jason DeSantis were both given four minutes for hitting after the whistle.
Like Bittner's game-tying goal, the Wolverines game-winning goal came with some inadvertent guidance from the opposition.
Tambellini's shot from the bottom of the left circle bounced off DeSantis' chest and the carom got by Caruso to give U of M a 3-2 lead. DeSantis was in the crease to ward off Kaleniecki, who skated behind the goal and gained position on the right post.
OSU pulled Caruso in the final minute but was unable to come up with any last-second heroics. Jason Ryznar scored with less than a second remaining to make the final 4-2.
Caruso finished with 34 saves. Montoya had 27.